Forty years ago, in a Newfoundland river,
I caught and killed an Atlantic salmon.
A hooking so elegant and a death so noble
That I became addicted to their pursuit.
But over decades their numbers shriveled,
blamed on netting, or on fish-eating birds,
or on seals, or on poachers, or on luck,
but rarely on climate and sportsmen.
I led hundreds of partners in death dances
in over twenty rivers before admitting that they should swim away as unharmed as stress and a torn mouth allowed.
But the salmon are dwindled far past
any help from my pyrrhic gesture
and the rivers run too warmly past me,
empty of the lives I’d treasured into death.